RIDGEWOOD, N.J. — No matter the condition that Ridgewood-based podiatrist Jacob Reinkraut is treating, his goal remains the same: to get his patients back on their feet.
The Franklin Lakes native and fourth generation physician was recently sworn in as president of the New Jersey Podiatric Society. And with that honor, it's not only his patients that he keeps standing, but other doctors in his field.
"Hopefully, more podiatrists continue to support the society, which supports them," said Reinkraut, an Upper Saddle River father.
"The podiatrists in the society are working and paving the way, and the ones that are not part of the society are getting the benefits, but aren't paying."
Reinkraut explained that the society is what makes it possible for podiatrists to continue working. It's what fights for legislation and teaches with continuing education.
"I feel like they should know how hard we’re working for them," he said.
But hard work is nothing new to Reinkraut. His four years of undergrad were followed by nearly a decade-worth of education at the New York College of Podiatric Medicine and then a residency at St. Michael's Medical Center.
He was working for another local doctor before opening Complete Foot and Ankle Center with locations in Ridgewood, Fair Lawn and Rutherford in 2009.
Reinkreit most enjoys working with his hands and improving the quality of life.
After completing rotations in other fields and seeing what his cousin who is also a podiatrist did, Reinkraut was certain that podiatry was for him.
The selling point was guaranteed continuing relationships with each patient, he said.
"Someone comes in with an ankle sprain and then a few months later with a planters wart, and then again with an ingrown toe nail," the doctor said.
"And then you have the 80-year-old patients that are at risk and just need their nails cut every three months.
"You get to know the people and I really enjoy that part of the relationship."
Empathizing with them isn't difficult for Reinkraut. For starters, he knows the science behind the pain.
"There's a word — 'homunculus,'" he said. "A distorted picture of the human body where bigger portions have more nerve endings — the mouth, the genitals and the feet."
So when you come to Reinkraut with a broken toe that you stubbed on the corner of the bedpost — something he sees a lot of — he knows your pain.
And he also knows what it's like to be his own patient.
"I had to do my own ingrown toe nail procedure," Reinkraut recalled. "What was I going to do, see a podiatrist?
"It was just nagging me for so long and I was like, 'I have to do this myself.'"
And so, he gave himself an injection and took off a corner of his nail.
"I was like, 'Why didn't I do this sooner?'" he said. "Just like my patients say."
Reinkrauts likes having variety in his day. Unlike some podiatrists who do mostly office work, he does it all — from routine check-ins to surgical procedures.
"It's not so easy getting around when you don't have your feet. You take them for granted 99 percent of the time," he said.
"I'm happy to get people through those issues as quickly and easily as possible."
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